EU lowers mobile roaming fees for summer

Updated 28 June 2013

EU lowers mobile roaming fees for summer

BRUSSELS: Checking e-mail or surfing the Web on a mobile phone while traveling in the European Union will be a third cheaper from Monday under roaming cuts enforced by the EU’s regulator in time for the summer holiday season.
The European Union has been eager to show its relevance to EU citizens with measures to cut the cost of consumer goods such as flights and roaming fees, with mobile charges a particularly popular step over the past several years.
“The EU has to be relevant to people’s lives,” the EU’s telecoms regulator, Neelie Kroes, said as she announced the 36 percent reduction in roaming fees.
Kroes wants to completely eliminate the fees across the 27-nation EU, but there are doubts about whether that can be achieved in the 18 months left in her mandate.
This summer’s caps were announced in March last year, but the Commission typically trumpets the lower rates ahead of the summer holidays, when they take effect.
EU regulators have been chipping away at the charges since 2007. The latest cut marks an 80 percent decline since then.
From July 1, the cost of using the Internet while abroad falls to 45 cents per megabyte from 70 cents. Making calls declines to 24 cents per minute from 29 cents, and receiving calls to 7 cents per minute from 8 cents.
The cost of sending text messages will also go down, to 8 cents from 9 cents. Mobile users don’t pay for receiving text messages while traveling in the bloc.
All of costs will fall again on July 1 next year.
“The latest price cuts put more money in your pocket for summer, and are a critical step toward getting rid of these premiums once and for all,” Kroes said in a statement.
The cuts will also mean very substantial reductions in charges in Croatia, a popular summer holiday destination. The country is joining the European Union on Monday, raising the total number of member states to 28.
The commission said mobile Internet use in Croatia will be nearly 15 times cheaper than at present, and text messages and voice calls to another EU country would cost 10 times less from next week.


Global trade experts gather in Riyadh as virus crisis heats up

Updated 43 min 22 sec ago

Global trade experts gather in Riyadh as virus crisis heats up

  • More than 1,000 international companies set up operations in Saudi Arabia last year

RIYADH: World trade experts are gathering in Riyadh for a major conference as the coronavirus crisis casts a shadow over global commerce.

The Asia House Trade Dialogue takes place on Tuesday in the Saudi Arabian capital, with thought leaders and policymakers taking part in the first such event to be staged in the Kingdom. Around 200 delegates are expected to attend the one-day forum.

Leading thinkers will share their insights on global trade, women’s growing role in business, and the energy industry moving toward renewable technologies. There will also be a live link with a Beijing-based expert on Chinese business to discuss the economic effects of the virus.

Asia House is a London-based consultancy which is headed by the former British trade minister and chairman of the HSBC banking group, Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint. He said: “With Saudi Arabia hosting the G20 this year, we believe it is an important time to bring our trade dialogue to Riyadh to explore the economic shifts taking place in the region and beyond.”

The event is sponsored by the Saudi British Bank, whose chair Lubna Olayan will deliver the keynote speech.

She said: “Trade has historically always been important to the development of the Kingdom, and that is equally true today as the Far East and the Middle East are once again becoming increasingly connected, and we begin a year in which Saudi Arabia leads the G20, with deliberations around trade and investment being a major focus of the B20 (the business arm of G20 summit of world leaders). It is truly an exciting time, so we are pleased to be jointly hosting this important event to explore opportunities for enhancing and facilitating growing trade links between the Far East and the Middle East.”

The conference will be opened by Ibrahim Al-Omar, the governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, the body which promotes foreign investment in the Kingdom. Arab News is the strategic media partner for the event.

Lord Green said: “The Middle East remains an extremely important region for global trade, especially as the Gulf broadens its relationships with Asian markets. Just last year, more than 1,000 international companies set up new operations in Saudi Arabia, highlighting business interest in the Kingdom.”

Victor Gao, who is vice president of the Beijing-based Center for China and Globalization, will answer questions via web link about the impact of coronavirus on the Chinese economy.

Saudi Arabia launched its G20 presidency last December with a declaration of its program, which seeks to support innovation, achieve prosperity, empower people and preserve the planet, in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan.

King Salman hailed the G20 presidency as proof of the country’s key role in the global economy.